Dreamloper and Kieran Shoemark came out on top after a tight finish in the Betfair Exchange Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket.
Progressive last year, finishing her campaign with a fine third in the Sun Chariot, the Ed Walker-trained mare locked horns with Sir Michael Stoute’s Ville De Grace as the line approached in the Group Two, with Francis-Henri Graffard’s favourite Ebaiyra finishing fast also.
Shoemark’s mount was announced the 4-1 winner by a nose after a photo finish, with Ville De Grace second at 85-40 and Ebaiyra third, with the 15-8 market leader perhaps a shade unlucky having had to momentarily switch for a clear run.
Walker said: “I had such a bad day yesterday and I thought we were definitely beaten.
“I’ve always thought plenty of her, but she’s been quite difficult to train. Molly Stratton, who rides her every day, has done a brilliant job in calming her down, she’s getting more and more relaxed now.
“She’s always been explosive and it doesn’t take much to set her off but Molly understands her now, I Just let Molly look after her as she knows her inside out so full credit to her.
“In the Sun Chariot all she was doing was closing so I was confident she’d stay further, but she’d been so keen in the past. Kieran gets on really well with her.”
On future plans, Walker said: “We have to try to win a Group One now, the Nassau over an easy 10 furlongs at Goodwood is made for her. I’ve put her in the Queen Anne at (Royal) Ascot as a stiff mile will be fine, but the Nassau is her race.”
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